Friday, August 26, 2016


Last week I blogged about this piece, which almost got the better of me. The comments and encouragement many of you shared were so heartwarming. Thank you!

The changes on the finished piece may not appear as if a lot went into it, yet it actually took considerable thought, auditioning and testing to find the appropriate construction process to add the three details that now connect the two pieces.

Once again this is an example of the complexity and joy of creating one-of-a-kind art quilts!

GROWING STRONG    26.5" X 26" 
Artist indigo-dyed and ice-dyed cotton, machine stitched.

Visit these inspiration blogs to see what others have spent their week working on:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday


Thursday, August 25, 2016


The Felting and Fiber Studio has just announced a new online workshop that is sure to be lots of fun and wonderfully educational.  It will focus on how to print, stencil and play with Thickened Dyes on Felt.  They reall know their stuff so it's a great opportunity!!

Click here to learn the details.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Life happens.....we had planned to do part two of our paper transfer printing at this Fiber Junkies meeting....but since two members could attend we shifted gears.  Besides, that can be done indoors and with summer waning....we have only another month or so to work in Val's perfect garage/outdoor space.
 Some areas of Asheville have had rain daily, not so in the mountain valley where I live.  It's as dry as a bone.  Even so, we planned to do some sun printing.  The last time we did this several years ago it rained and we got almost no decent prints.  Hummmm....look at the sky!
Fortunately, the sun peaked in and out and for the most part we were able to print.
 We thinned, one part Setacolor with 2 parts water.  Felted wool isn't necessarily a good option for this process....the surface isn't smooth enough. However, this blotchy mess was from some other failed experiment.....have no clue as is my motto, "If you are unhappy with your results you can (a) stay unhappy, whine, and moan or (b) get fearless and do something about it."  Really, there's nothing to lose....there's always more fabric where this came from!!
 So I painted each half with a different color. Then placed leaves on the wet surface....with some rocks to hold them down.  The more surface contact, the better the print. SURE....I know a piece of glass would have done a better job....but since I didn't have one......
......The results are disappointing.  But definitely not the end of the world and I can layer/paint/dye/stitch and continue to make lemonade from a lemon.
 Here I'm painting the diluted Setacolor onto a piece of white on white fabric.
 Covered with found object and set in the sun.....well, set outside hoping for the sun.
Quite actually printed some designs.
 This fabric was painted with teal Setacolor (not shown) and covered with sequin waste.
Positive results again!
Clever Gen brought some popcorn kernels which I scattered onto the other half of the teal coated fabric. Perhaps a greater length of time in the sun would have helped.....but it clouded up again and this is what appeared. I'm okay with it.

We are hoping to get in a day of marbling before we have to start meeting indoors.....and of course I'll report our adventures.

Friday, August 19, 2016

RESCUED OR FAILURE?? The jury is still out.....

My week, actually closer to two for this project hasn't gone well.  Just when I thought my vision issues were a thing of the past, I've had a relapse.  Hopefully it's temporary but it's so annoying to cope with these limitations.
This piece started out so simple.  I've enjoyed creating a couple of pieces recently using uneven patchwork sections, surrounded by either narrow black or white strips. My indigo dyed fabric stash is almost depleted so this was a way of stretching what I have left.
I envisioned a sketch of a tree as the focal point.  There was no intention to echo the look of a traditional window, rather I was thinking more along the lines of a piece of stained glass.
My drawing skills are almost nil, but determination, a pencil and eraser yielded the image that fit nicely into the piece.

I'm still struggling to achieve acceptable machine quilting, especially when using this programed serpentine stitch.  Although I promised not to complain about my new machine.....surely you could hear me hollering no matter where you live due to all the distortion that developed. Yes, it started square and flat, basted within an inch of its life.  I used Janome's pale imitation of the Pfaff's dual feed feature......called Accufeed.  Enuff said.....I'm not sure whether you can see the horrible distortion above.  After blocking it more than once I had to decide if it could be rescued or considered a failure.
After considering all possibilities, I cut it apart, eliminating a small section to get rid of the puckering. My original intention was to deep six the bottom section, bind the top, then go back and add more detail at the bottom of the piece. a lark, I added binding to the bottom to see how it would look if it was displayed as two pieces.  While working, an idea emerged to possibly attach the two by joining the roots from the bottom to the top.  Or???  I'm still considering whether to use just the top or both pieces as shown here or somehow connecting the two.  What do you think??

Follow these links to see what successes others have had this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Long time readers of this blog know how much I enjoy Bluegrass music.  Luckily, there are lots of opportunties to enjoy live Bluegrass right here in our mountains.  
 'The husband' and I have seen Darin and Brooke Aldridge numerous times and they never fail to entertain with his fabulous instrumental talents and their blended harmony.  She has such a strong voice, you'll often see her stepping back from the microphone to prevent it from shattering as she belts out the lyrics.
 Waynesville, NC, has a population of about 10,000 and sits at 2,750 feet elevation.  It's our nearest town with a charming downtown featuring galleries/gift shops and restaurants, approximately 25 mins. from our house. 

 A young couple recently purchased the old movie theater on Main Street and are slowly bringing it back to life with live music and evening movies.  The Strand was built in 1945 and was said to have around 400 seats.  Now it's a tiny venue with 75 seats, padded armless chairs situated right next to each other which makes for a very intimate setting!
Bluegrass groups generally consist of a guitar, mandolin, banjo, upright base, and fiddle.  Occasionally, groups will also highlight the dobro, a personal favorite of mine. Country music quite will often feature a pedal steel guitar (as seen here).  The sound is similar to the dobro....but twangier.  We were lucky to get front row seats, seriously no less than 5 feet from the stage and dab smack in front of this musician (who also played the banjo and guitar.....sigh....what talent!)

My toes are still tapping this morning......

Friday, August 12, 2016


Do I have an interesting technique to share with you!!!  Our PTA (Professional Textile Artists) groups' activity generally consists of lunch, chatting, and occasionally making community quilts. Last year we adapted a different approach to our meetings which has brought some new direction to some gatherings.  Each member is responsible to plan a monthly meeting and this month Connie Brown led us on an exciting adventure. 
We met at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway and she organized everything....I mean every detail which was no small task.  We began by covering the tables with Glad Press'nSeal.  This was her clever invention that allowed our fabric to stay secure on the tables. Brilliant!!!
This is a Japanese Indigo plant that Connie grew.  She also brought a number of large buckets filled with indigo stems soaking in water for us to use.
Did I say she came prepared!?!  Oh my.....she presented a very informative  lesson. It included showing a stack of indigo leaf printed/rubbed fabric samples.
Each piece had been placed over an item that provided texture during the rubbings. The colors were surprisingly different. Connie explained that the variety of color derives from the growing conditions (soil/water/temperature).  The maturity of the plants' leaves also impacts the color.
The color depicted in these photos isn't very true due to the commercial lighting where we were working.  Best described, they ranged from traditional indigo blue, many shades blues & greens, and even grays. This one was rubbed over plastic lace place mats.
This piece was one of my favorites.  Connie used Dawn dish washing liquid (allowing it to dry) as a resist before rubbing the leaves over the fabric.  As the photo shows, it was a very beautiful gray.
I used a number of items to texturize my fabric.  One was this meshy looking thing and something that looked like a plastic needle point base. Both turned out to be the least successful ones.
Okay, down to business.  The leaves were stripped from the stems and placed on towels to dry.  They can't actually dry out, nor can they be wet.  A fine balance was required.
We donned our gloves, placed our preferred texture item on the Pressn'Seal and covered it with cotton cloth, making sure the cloth was stuck to the plastic wrap to prevent it from moving around too much. With a small handful of leaves, rolled into a ball, we began rubbing over the the cloth.  The harder the better as I learned later.
I used three different items for this part of my cloth.
By far this was my favorite one.....a plastic sink mat!
Once the entire section of fabric had been rubbed with the leaves, we rinsed them in plain water numerous times to get rid of the leaf debris.  Then each piece was rubbed and massaged with small soap slivers.  As it got very soapy I began to see color changes.
The next step was a good rinse in water untill it ran clear. you can see, a whole section of mine was now nearly blank. The areas that disappeared were where I began, clearly I didn't rub long or hard enough.  It's a learning process so that's okay.  Connie explained that once dried, those blank areas can be printed again. She actually layered several of her pieces using more than one item to create different and interesting textures.
Happily more than half of my cloth had great colorful designs.  This was such fun....a real treat!  I'm inspired and I hope you are too.

Check out these blogs for more inspiration:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, and Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Early last evening our neighbor alerted us to go outside to see the wonders of nature.  I don't recall ever seeing such an uninterrupted rainbow.  Neat!!!

Monday, August 8, 2016


After Denny gave us an instructive overview....we got started painting our paper. 
Styrofoam food trays worked well to hold and mix our paints.  Val has a vast collection of plastic molded plates for texture so I chose a cobblestone design.
This is very much a learn as you go technique....and my first attempt didn't work at all.  I had placed the plate beneath the paper and firmly painted the paper using a foam brush.  Results = nothing.  So, before the paint dried I pressed mat upside down onto the paper which yielded a design (hard to see - sorry) Next, I pressed the painted surface onto another piece of paper to get an additional impression.
Fabric crayons were fun and far less messy to use.  However, the tables we work on are padded and I had trouble with the texture plate shifting beneath the paper as I tried to press down firmly.  
This is a better print, made by doing the rubbing on the concrete floor.
 We believe this plastic rectangle is a place mat....we ALL love it.  When using stencils, we found a foam roller brush worked best to evenly apply the paint.
This is by far is my best effort of the day.  I printed twice, once in black and once in another color that Kate has used.  Here's how:  Kate turned the right side of my black paint coated mat onto her paper.  Then applied a different color. (Giving her a positive and negative print).  Then I placed the right side of her mat onto my previously painted paper to print any leftover paint.  When reprinting to use up excess paint, we found a hard brayer roller worked best.  
And of course we have show and tell.  Kate had us all drooling!  This was a piece she made in a recent dye workshop at Pro Chem.
Here's a cover she made for what looked like a notebook cover.  I love how she added an additional layer over the busy marbled fabric.....
We were all surprised when she opened it to reveal a coloring book that she bought while on a recent trip to Scotland.  What a fabulous gift idea.
And another dyed piece.
Denny brought this fantastic piece of poly crepe that was transferred dyed.  It was soooo rich looking in person.
Gen is our resident knitter.  Her socks are works of art and feel so good on one's feet because she uses very fine yarns and a size 1 needle.

The Fiber Junkies will meet again in two weeks when we will heat transfer our papers to for my report!

Friday, August 5, 2016


Fiber Junkie day is one we all look forward to each month....and this month of Aug. we are going to meet twice....part 1 and part 2 of a transfer technique Denny shared with us.
 Here's Professor Denny (yes, she was a professor at the U of Colorado) with college course size tutorial packets for each one of us to take home to learn/explore further.
This technique apparently has several different names....I'll just call it transfer dye/painting.  Basically it's a method where transfer dyes/paints are applied to ordinary copy paper by simply painting with a foam brush or roller.  One also has the opportunity of adding texture by using rubbing plates, bubble wrap, stamps, photos, lettering.  Here's a stack of paper created with the aid of bubble wrap.
 Denny is holding another example created in a similar manner that one would use in deconstructed screen printing.
 Once the paper is dry it's placed face down on fabric and pressed with a very hot iron.  Denny recommends using 100% poly since it can stand up to the heat requirements.  This example was the result of using several different prepared painted sheets of paper.....layering is such a strength of Denny's that she uses to achieve such interesting results.
 Here's another example
 She didn't say but I'm guessing this one was created with numerous different images from her painted papers.  Most can be used several times before the paint is spent.
 Denny had several varieties of materials to use.  This one is in powder form from Pro-Chem that has to be mixed. Polyster fabric is suggested for the fabric base.  It's not something I use or frankly even own now that I no longer create wearable art so I kinda balked at this whole concept.  However, once she showed us how she uses a fusible stabilizer on the back side....and further strengthens the fabric with machine stitching.....I was all steam ahead!
Here's another example of a transfer to poly fabric, stabilized and stitched.
 Fabric crayons are another medium we used.  They will achieve a brighter image when transferred but generally can be used only once....and if lucky a second time but the print will be lighter.  Be sure to use FABRIC crayons.
 Though most of her samples were made using Peachskin poly., these delicate prints were on dryer sheets.

Ya....I know I'm leaving you hanging post will include more info about the process, along with our ever inspiring Fiber Junkies Show and Tell.

I'm linking to:  Whoop, whoop Friday, Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,